Washington is abuzz with the news that the Clintons have decided on the addition to their household of a three-month old puppy.
Said animal, a chocolate-brown labrador-retriever cross, was taken to visit his new owners for their approval last week, spent half an hour undergoing the presidential-compatibility test on the White House lawn, and was then immediately whisked away for training.
The First Dog obedience course, according to the White House, will not - at least in the first instance - be about retrieving President Clinton's golf balls, but rather more basic: "like not on the Oval Office rug', said a White House spokesman.
The arrival of the dog - as yet unnamed - will allow President Clinton to claim his place in a long line of White House dog-owners.
His four predecessors all had dogs - George Bush's late lamented spaniel, Millie, was the most recent First Dog. A First Cat was something of a departure.
In gossip-ridden Washington views differ about the reasons for the new arrival. Are the President and Mrs Clinton pining for their daughter, Chelsea - now in her first year at Stanford University in California - so much that they need another focus for their affections?
Has Chelsea's departure left Socks without a patron sufficiently powerful to protect his interests?
Is the President feeling his age to the point where he is giving up jogging for dog-walking?
Or is he so fed up with his security detail that he is considering alternatives?
The favoured explanation is that the rarefied world of Washington politics and Hillary's whistle-stop world tours may finally be getting to him.
Much quoted over the weekend has been President Harry Truman's quip: "If you need a friend in Washington, get a dog." Well, he just did.
-- Mary Dejevsky